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Every book. Every movie. Songs. Sermons. Those old episodes of Once Upon A Time. Pretty much anything my eyes see and my ears hear seems different these days. It all speaks to my heart and challenges my soul in a way that’s unfamiliar.
I’ve been going through a rough patch. No doubt it started sometime in my past, when I missed a life lesson on vulnerability. Over the years I’ve learned to tuck away emotions like hurt and sadness behind calculated reactions to injustice and disappointment. “What you did is not right” and “You are acting inappropriately” have been surrogates for “I feel belittled by you” and “I feel embarrassed by you.” I have conditioned myself to wag my head, but rarely do I cry.
This way that I’ve trained my soul has not served me well of late. It would be uncharitable to publicly say why. Let it suffice to say that there is a flesh and blood reason. Who it is is not the point. Nor does it matter so much that the person is wrong. Nor that the person is being unkind. Perhaps the only way God can get through the wall to my heart is a Babylonian captivity. Should I blame Nebuchadnezzar for being a nasty king? In many ways, jerks are less pitiable than the people who need jerks to jolt them out of dysfunction. I feel like I am in an uglier spot than my antagonist.
So this is an interesting spiritual place for me to be while heading into Holy Week. Reflecting on my hesitance to be vulnerable, I have asked why am I resistant to fess up to sadness and hurt and inadequacy. Being close to Good Friday helps answer that question. I am resistant because the worst possible outcome to vulnerability is really bad: Crucifixion.
Let’s be honest. The argument in favor of vulnerability is that friends cannot draw near and comfort us unless we are vulnerable. But that same argument means enemies can draw near and scourge us with a whip, sink a crown of thorns into our skull, and nail us to a tree. Vulnerability is risky.
But if vulnerability is a risk, then Easter Sunday is the reward. Any day of the week I will take a resurrection, scars still visible but all the sadness gone. I say that. I know it in my mind. But it has only been recently that I’ve allowed the truth of it to dampen my eyes.
This is going to be a journey. I cannot say how my rough patch will end. Perhaps with reconciliation. Perhaps with unresolved hurt. No doubt it will involve the discomfort of growth. But however it ends, I hope to get to the other side of it acting less indignant and more vulnerable.
Dave is an author, educator, and advocate of living simply. Dave has spoken nationally and internationally about simplicity. He has appeared in Time Magazine, Mother Jones Magazine, the London Times, and The Guardian, and has been a guest of the 700 Club. His book The 100 Thing Challenge (HarperCollins, 2010) tells the story of his simple-living journey and the worldwide movement it contributed to. Dave holds an M.A. from Wheaton College and a B.A. from Moody Bible Institute. He works at Point Loma Nazarene University and lives in San Diego with his wife and three daughters.